Grey's Anatomy: 5 Reasons Why Now Is The Time For A Japril Spinoff In Boston

Jesse Williams and Sarah Drew on Grey's Anatomy.
(Image credit: Netflix)

Grey’s Anatomy fans have been clamoring for more Jackson Avery and April Kepner, practically from the moment that actress Sarah Drew’s character was written off of the medical drama after Season 14. Jesse Williams has since left the show as well, and still the demand from loyal fans has only gotten louder. With Ellen Pompeo making her exit from Grey’s Anatomy by moving her character to Boston — where a reunited Japril currently live — the powers that be at ABC have a very interesting opportunity to expand this universe, and now is the time to do it. 

Below are 5 reasons why a Grey’s Anatomy spinoff in Boston, featuring the fan-favorite couple Jackson and April as the main characters, needs to happen, and needs to happen now. 

Ellen Pompeo and Aniela Gumbs on Grey's Anatomy.

(Image credit: ABC)

A Boston Spinoff Would Be A Win-Win For Ellen Pompeo And Fans Of Meredith Grey 

Ellen Pompeo has long voiced her opinion about being on Grey’s Anatomy too long, and it’s easy to assume she’s ready to pursue new opportunities, like her upcoming drama on Hulu. So at first glance, it would be naive to assume that she’d be willing to leave Grey’s Anatomy just to reprise the same character on a different show. However, if Jesse Williams and Sarah Drew were to lead the series, Pompeo could pop in and out at will, and still keep Meredith’s fans apprised of what’s happening with the beloved character.

Also, if the Japril spinoff were a 10-episode drama for streaming — an idea floated by Sarah Drew herself — the filming schedule might be far less demanding than what Ellen Pompeo is accustomed to on Grey’s Anatomy, making the occasional cameo all the more attractive.

E.R. Fightmaster as Kai on Grey's Anatomy

(Image credit: ABC)

A Cast Of Potential Series Regulars Has Already Been Established 

When Jackson offered Meredith the opportunity to use funding from the Catherine Fox Foundation for her Alzheimer’s research, he pointed out that the work she’d done on Parkinson’s translated naturally to the brain. That means that all of those Minnesota doctors who were introduced in Season 18 would make sense as part of Meredith’s new research team (and could carry the weight when Ellen Pompeo’s not around). Basically what I’m saying is — and I couldn’t feel more strongly about this — make E.R. Fightmaster a series regular on this spinoff right now. 

Ellen Pompeo and Jesse Williams on Grey's Anatomy.

(Image credit: ABC)

Boston Has Already Crossed Over With Seattle On Grey’s Anatomy Numerous Times 

Jesse Williams hadn’t even been gone from Grey’s Anatomy for a whole season before Jackson Avery was back in Seattle, bringing April Kepner with him. The same goes for Greg Germann’s Tom Koracick. That’s three former series regulars who clearly have no problem continuing to jump into the Grey’s dynamic. Catherine Fox (Debbie Allen) seems to regularly go back and forth between the two cities because of the foundation. 

That’s not to mention, Maggie Pierce (Kelly McCreary) lived in Boston until she went searching for her biological family in Seattle. Now Meredith and possibly Scott Speedman's Nick Marsh — we all think he and Meredith are going to end up together, right? — are calling Massachusetts home. That’s a lot of smoke to not go ahead and stoke that fire.

Greg Germann and Debbie Allen on Grey's Anatomy.

(Image credit: ABC)

Grey’s Anatomy Introduced The Perfect First Storyline For Boston 

Clearly, there’s already enough of a universe established in Boston to see how a spinoff could make sense. However, is it possible that Grey’s Anatomy already introduced its first major Boston storyline? In the November 3 episode, “When I Get to the Border,” Koracick informs Catherine that her tumor is growing and she needs to restart treatment. Determined to not spend her final days in an oncology ward, she refuses treatment and makes it clear she will be keeping that secret from son Jackson and husband Richard Webber (James Pickens Jr.).

It only makes sense for this story to play out in Boston. Sure, Webber is still on Grey’s Anatomy, but Jackson is going to be the one hit hardest by this big secret, and Koracick’s role in it is not a small one. I don’t understand how they can introduce that plotline during an episode in Boston and then just send us back to Seattle to our regularly scheduled Grey Sloan Memorial programming.  

Jackson and April Japril hug on Grey's Anatomy.

(Image credit: ABC)

Jesse Williams And Sarah Drew Want This To Happen 

Without Jesse Williams and Sarah Drew, obviously, a Japril spinoff would be a nonstarter. That is not the case here. Both actors have expressed multiple times how much they love their characters and working with each other. Drew said as recently as September that she and Williams had spoken about a spinoff and would love to see it happen. They even pitched a spinoff years ago that became the Season 12 episode “Unbreak My Heart,” known affectionately as “Japril The Movie” and less affectionately known as one of Grey’s Anatomy’s most heartbreaking moments.

In March 2021, ABC Signature president Jonnie Davis got fans really excited when he said Grey’s showrunner Krista Vernoff and creator Shonda Rhimes were working “right now” on the “next phase of Grey’s Anatomy.” Many assumed this meant a third spinoff was coming to follow on the successes of Private Practice and Station 19. However, just hours later, Davis walked that statement back, telling fans, “There are no conversations about a spinoff of Grey’s Anatomy at this time.”

But now, all the pieces seem to be there for the universe to expand again. Jesse Williams and Sarah Drew have been on board with a spinoff for years, and fans have been consistently vocal about wanting one. Pulling the trigger on it now would allow them to capitalize on Ellen Pompeo’s exit, Catherine’s cancer storyline, and the fresh-on-our-minds Minnesota doctors who were introduced in Season 18 and would make so much sense in Meredith’s new world.

We’ll just have to continue to wait to see if we’ll ever get a continued story for Jackson and April that’s more than just the occasional guest spot on Grey’s Anatomy. In the meantime, the first 18 seasons of Grey’s Anatomy are available for streaming with a Netflix subscription, and Season 19 can be streamed with a Hulu subscription. Season 19 will return to ABC at 9 p.m. ET on Thursday, February 23. See what else is ahead for the new year with our 2023 TV schedule

Heidi Venable
Content Producer

Mom of two and hard-core '90s kid. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Thrives on New Orleans Saints football, The West Wing and taco trucks.